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CAUT Bulletin Archives

November 2013

CAUT presses Senate of Canada to reject Bill C-377

[Johnathan Nightingale / Flickr]
[Johnathan Nightingale / Flickr]
CAUT has written to all senators urging them to reject Bill C-377, a private member’s bill that targets organizations representing employees.

The Harper government returned the anti-labour legislation to the Senate last month, after the bill died on the order paper with pro­rogation. In doing so, the government rejected all amendment propositions approved by a majority of senators from across party lines following extensive hearings in the last parliamentary session.

“Bill C-377 is a private member’s bill that would impose unique and unprecedentedly onerous reporting requirements on trade unions, labour organizations, and any association re­presenting employees,” said CAUT executive director James Turk.

He said the legislation would force employee associations to file detailed information about all their activities and expenditures and the companies and individuals to whom they give their business. That information would then be posted publicly on a Canada Revenue Agency website.

“Costs for labour organizations to comply will be in the millions, and it will cost the fede­ral government millions to implement and monitor — all a needless waste of resources,” Turk said.

Hearings convened by the Senate earlier this year revealed widespread opposition to the bill. Commentators and expert witnesses labeled the legislation as unnecessary, discriminatory, invasive and likely unconstitutional.

It was pointed out in testimony that the bill was unnecessary as members have access to their organization’s financial records. Witnesses before the Senate objected to the discriminatory application to employee organiza­tions but to no others, including organizations representing businesses, lobbyists, doctors, accountants, lawyers and charities.

“Given the widespread opposition and the government’s rejection of the Senate’s pre­vious work on the bill, we hope the senators’ approach will be to rebuff pressure from the Harper government,” Turk said. “We will keep talking with senators to encourage them to do the right thing.”